Still time for a little holiday magic

With 2016 coming to a close, (finally.) The holidays are almost over. But there is still some time to enjoy the seasonal festivities.

I usually only go to Six Flags Magic Mountain for two reasons. To scream my head off on crazy coasters or to scream my head off during Fright Fest.  But after hearing good things about their Holiday in the Park celebration, I decided to give it a try myself. There are six sections throughout the park decked out in holiday spirit. I started with Snowy Nights in the Full Throttle Plaza featuring live music. I’m pretty sure it’s the same band from Fright Fest. I recognized the lead female singer. She is really good and reminds me of Hayley from Paramore. The stage show also features dancers and holiday games and some cool contemporary light projections. I passed up on my usual visit to the Full Throttle Sports bar, but I read they were offering seasonal craft brews and holiday food. Everywhere you look there were signs offering special holiday treats. Like, hot cocoa with PEEPS marshmallows. But I was on the hunt for one of my favorites, hot apple cider. Sadly, it was yet to be found.

After a good dose of holiday cheer it was time to experience what Six Flags is known for, the coasters. Some days my top three changes order, but there is one coaster that owns a permanent spot in that list, Goliath! I just love it so much. That initial 225 ft drop is everything. Followed by another 185 ft drop and 4.5 g-force turns. It’s fun and intense and a must ride, every time. Thankfully this was a short line and I was able to board quickly.

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The part of the park I kept hearing about was located in the DC Universe section, renamed Rockin’ Universe. This was the ultimate light display. Touting itself as one of the largest programmed light shows on the west coast it was a must see. Thousands upon thousands of lights dance across the buildings and arched canopy all choreographed to music. The huge Christmas tree in DC plaza acts as conductor. I was really pleased. They offer three different shows all done to holiday music every 15 minutes. It was spectacular.

 

Just off to the right hand side of DC Universe is the new Gleampunk Experience. I’m a sucker for anything steampunk. Since the revamping of Twisted Colossus, Six Flags has really honed in on that area of the park and the steampunk theme. I can’t even remember what it looked like before, which is how forgettable that part of the park seemed to me. During Holiday in the Park, fake snow and industrial sculptures with twinkling lights are everywhere. I saw stilt walkers and steampunk skaters entertaining the crowds.

There was a Kwerkmas acrobat show at the Gearworks theater but I missed the showings. I did see a ton of kids doing cartwheels and handstands throughout the park, so I’m guessing it was a fun and inspiring show. I will try to make it out next year. I found another hot cocoa stand, but still no cider. A few employees even confessed to me that they didn’t even know the park was selling hot cider. I was disappointed but not discouraged. The search continues.

The back side of the park was rather devoid of holiday sparkle. It felt like a missed opportunity. You go from one gorgeous snow covered section, to twinkling lights displays into nothingness. Just plain old six flags. I really hope they consider adding another section to this bleak area of the park next year. But after consulting the map, I finally found my way to Winter Wonderland.

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As this is Southern California a white Christmas is not plausible. But it was only about 50 degrees that night and there was a bit of wind, so I almost bought the wintry landscape as real. Fake snow falls every 20 minutes around Santa’s toy workshop. Mrs Claus does crafts with the kids, and you can get your picture taken with the jolly man himself. Or huddle around a “fire pit” and roast marshmallows for s’mores. If you like to eat cold things in cold weather, enjoy some special mint cookie crunch dippin’ dots. I was looking at the fake snow on the ground surrounded by giant snow sculptures, trying to breathe heat back into my numb fingers, and for a moment it felt real. The holiday magic was working on me. Strolling through tall candy cane light striped trees the enchantment put a smile on everyone’s faces.

Santa’s Star Spangled Plaza is a small area as you head toward the New Revolution. This virtual reality coaster is a big hit and during Holiday in the Park, the adventure is Santa’s Wild Sleigh Ride. I’ve heard it’s fun, but I have a germ thing about wearing the same VR headset as a million other park goers. I’ve seen the kids that work here and I don’t trust them to disinfect each set between each use. Maybe I’m overreacting but I really hate being sick over the holidays so I passed. But I did get a picture on Santa’s sleigh.

The final stop on this holiday loop puts you back in Holiday Square where I entered the park. More twinkling light displays and snowfall every 20 minutes. 20161222_202139There were holiday carolers who are definitely big fans of Pentatonix. Plus more marshmallow roasting outside the Plaza Cafe. The funnel cake line was as long as I’ve ever seen and Candy Kitchen was offering 20+ different flavors of fudge. But I was still on the hunt for cider. I popped into customer relations to ask them about the cider. I showed the employee my season pass holder email where they claim to have cider. She was perplexed. But thankfully she called around and yes, the cider does exist! There is only one place in the park you can enjoy a $4 cup of apple cider and it was just next door at the Plaza Cafe. Success! Yes, $4 is a bit over priced and it was more like warm apple cider, rather than hot. Probably so some idiot doesn’t burn their tongue and sue Magic Mountain. But it felt like a win to me. I passed through Holiday Square one last time. I greeted the stilt walking Toy Soldiers and listened to a few more holiday songs as snow covered my boots. I wrapped my hands around my warm cider on my chilly walk back to my car and smiled. The holidays are so stressful for many people. Between traveling and family drama, it was so pleasant to walk through a winter wonderland (albeit a fake one) and enjoy some simple holiday fun.

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There is still one last weekend to enjoy Holiday in the Park. Best part is, now that Santa has gone back north, there will be less crowds blocking your view of the dazzling light shows. Check out https://holiday.sixflags.com/magicmountain/ for more info.

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